Maori views on Turei and racism

Two views of this from the Maori viewpoint. Joshua Hitchcock:

Reading Minister Tolley’s response to Metiria Turei and I do not see what all the fuss is about. But then, it is not my place to judge whether or not someone has experienced racism – it is a deeply personal experience and one in which context (in this instance, Metiria Turei’s life story) plays a huge part. Ad hominem attacks are a dangerous game to engage in, something Minister Tolley has found out this week.

Perhaps this presents an opportunity for the Green Party to take stock and reconsider some of their policy proposals that other groups consider racist. Anti-immigration, anti-foreigner policies which treat people differently based on the birth lottery have not gone down too well. It wasn’t that long ago the left were arguing that they were not racist. Racism is a personal experience – it is not for white liberals to argue racism along partisan lines. If foreigners feel unwelcome, or no longer welcome in New Zealand as a result of Green Party policy, then that is their experience and you cannot deny it.

Basically if it feels racist to you then it is. But that’s a double edged sword.

And Morgan Godfery: Anne Tolley: an agent of colourblind racism?

Tolley didn’t need to mention race. Her attack is loaded with social, political and racial assumptions. The unspoken context is that Metiria, a Maori woman who lives well and dresses better, is acting out of turn and out of step with her community. How can she be in touch with her community when she isn’t living like them? The premise is that a Maori woman cannot dress well and claim to represent her people. Because Maori live exclusively in poverty, amirite.

Is he right?

Many many debates and speeches in Parliament could be accused of being many things including sexist and racist and many other -ists if it is solely dependent on the feelings of the listener.

But dwelling on feelings, whether they are justified or not, resolve nothing.

Turei failed to address Tolley’s accusation of hypocrisy so that remains unchallenged. And it’s a common perception, even among generally Green sympathetic voters.

Maori Law and Politics view on water, assets and tribunals

An excellent analysis and summary of the asset sales, water rights and Waitangi Tribunal issues by Joshua Hitchcock on his ‘Maori Law and Politics’ blog, including:

Do Māori have rights to the water resource?

According to Tikanga Māori, yes. Prior to 1840, Hapū exercise ownership and control over all land and resources within their territory. This included the waterways and the water resource that flowed through their territory.

But both National and Labour claims that no-one owns water?

Yes, that is the position according to British Common Law. No-one owns water, the Government has the right however to allocate use rights over the resource.

What should we then make of the Prime Minister’s Comments?

What John Key said was fairly innocuous, and have been blown completely out of proportion for political gain. With the exception of land held by State-Owned Enterprises and Crown-owned forestry land, any recommendations made by the Waitangi Tribunal are not binding on the Crown.

This is as true today as it was in 1975 when the Treaty of Waitangi Act was passed and both Labour and National Government’s have ignored Waitangi Tribunal Reports over the decades – and will continue to do so.

And closes with:

What lessons should we learn from this?

The main lesson is that we need to start thinking a bit more strategically about the battles that we fight and the cases that we take to either the Waitangi Tribunal or the Courts. The NZ Māori Council were incredibly effective in the 1980s because they made smart decisions and took the right case to the appropriate forum. The Lands Case succeeded because it was a strongly argued case put before the Court of Appeal.

If you want to stop something, then forget about using the Waitangi Tribunal to achieve that. It’s best role is that of discussing the impacts of policy on Māori, not as a tool to prevent Government action. If you want to stop the partial asset sales process, then prepare a strong case and take it to the High Court.

Full post: Q&A: Māori Council Water Claim and Asset Sales